Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where do you draw the line?

We've all been told, "If you want to do something, just do it." At least, I know I have, and I've said it to others quite a few times. So, after many years of scribbling away for my own pleasure, I took that plunge, but agent after agent, publisher after publisher, my rejection letters piled up.

Then, finally, I received a big fat yes. I took that yes, and saw my first book come to life and moved on from there. I could actually tell people I was a published author!

But, when I told people I was a published author, they ask “Where can I buy your book?” Proudly, I said “Amazon, All Romance eBooks, my publishers’ websites.” They often responded “Can I buy it in a bookstore?” Before my short story, My Son, was released in print, my answer to their last question would be no. Because all of my stories were available only in eBook format.

This, instantly, changed the tone of our whole conversation. At that moment, their body language and questions cued me that they see authors who are electronically published differently from authors who are published through New York houses.

Avon has Avon Impulse, Harlequin has Carina Press, and of course there is Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, my own publishers: Red Rose Publishing and Vanilla Heart Publishing, and so many others.

According to TechCrunch, Amazon Kindle sales have eclipsed both hardcover and paperback sales. The NY Times recently reported that 180 Kindle books were sold to every 100 hardcover copies. The author continues to quote Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, who predicts that fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be in print in less than 10 years.

Due to devices like Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iPad, and more The Los Angeles Times writes that in 2011, total eBook sales are expected to reach $1 billion!

But, still, today people do draw an invisible line of distinction between authors published through the different venues. And I have to admit before I was published by an epublisher, I probably drew the same line. Asked the same questions. Do epublishers have good editors, cover art, who will buy it, how will they know it’s available? I quickly found out that the answer to all of these questions and more was, yes. And they'll know it's available because they're looking for it, and you and your publisher promote it.

Epubbed authors have led me to cyber conferences, which have taught me to pitch, and as a result, I’ve had two short stories, and two novellas published by epublishers.

Through groups like RWA’s Electronic and Small Press Authors’ Network, authors are able to network and educate others about epublished books. Hopefully, through authors networking and pressing forward, it will open up more opportunities for readers to be exposed to rich new stories told through voices that may not have otherwise been able to tell them because they were too “different” or just didn’t “fit.”

Do you draw a line between epublished, small press, and New York published authors? Why?

(This is an update of a previously written blog post.)


Sarah Tokeley said...

I draw a line between good books and bad books, not who they're published by. A few years ago maybe, but the publishing world has moved on. Eventually, everyone will catch up.

Josie said...

I agree with Sarah.
Be proud of your wonderful accomplishment. Ebooks are here to stay.

Denise Pattison said...

I do draw a line--whether the book is worth the money I paid for it. I've bought hardbacks, trade sized, mass market, those little serial books (what a pain), audio books, and ebooks.

I was furious when I bought an audio book of one of my favorite books. I had a long drive and before XM or Sirius radio, it could get boring. Or I had to scramble through 8-track tapes, cassettes, then CDs, followed closely by MP3 players. But audio books were there so I thought I'd get one I knew and listen to it.

Boy was I furious! The best parts of the book were cut out. I wasted a good bit of money on something I listened to one darn time.

Sure, I've picked up sucky ebooks, okay to be honest, I've picked up some really, really bad ebooks. Terrible grammar, horrible plots, and absolutely no voice. But the loss of a few dollars on that book comes no where near the frustration I felt over that audio book.

I'll never purchase another book by that author, so she didn't do herself any favors by putting it out there. She got my money once, once, but never again.

However, to be fair, I've gotten horrible print books too. I've got a hardback by Laurell K. Hamilton that I swear was never proofread.

I've also spent money on some of my favorite authors who've let me down. Wasted money, sure. Oh, Dara Joy's self-published books anyone? Seriously, if that's what her books looked like before her editor at Dorchester got to it--then I want her editor.

Do I waste money on those terrible ebooks--no more than I've wasted on other books.